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Special Collections at Northern Illinois University

Format-based Collections

A special collection is created to keep together material in one subject area which would be scattered in the Library of Congress classification system or might otherwise not meet the usual rare book criteria. Some of these collections may not show their "specialness" for years to come, but we are in the process of conserving them for future generations of researchers.

While most of these materials are made available through our Online Catalog and finding aids, there are portions of our collections which are not fully processed. If you haven't quite found what you are looking for, please ask!

Format-based collections

These collections are not always specifically subject-based, but are often a combination of subjects in a particular format.

Japanese Woodblock Prints: Tobin and Van Zelst Collections. A collection of materials on Japanese woodblock prints collected by James D. Tobin, specializing in prints of the late Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods (from about 1890). Included in this collection are books on prints, photographs and negatives, extensive notes, rare brochures and catalogs, correspondence, and some tapes and films made at conferences. The Van Zelst Collection complements the collection by documenting the lives and works of Japanese woodblock printers Un-ichi Hiratsuka and his daughter Keiko Moore,including personal letters between the two families, exhibition materials, materials on printmaking, and catalogs of Hiratsuka's works. An inventory of the Van Zelst Collection is available.

Manuscripts: Rare Books and Special Collections currently has little material that would fall into this classification without being assigned to the Archives. Nonetheless, we have provided for a collection of individual pieces or small groups of letters, ledger books, and other manuscript documents which are judged to be worth preserving but do not form a large enough body of material to form their own Special Collection. This includes manuscript materials found in our books, as well as an archive of The Review, a British "little magazine" from the 1960s. A finding aid is not yet available for the Manuscripts collection as a whole, but individual finding aids may be available.

Maps: A collection of rare and historical maps from all over the world from the 16th through 19th centuries. There is a special emphasis on maps from Southeast Asia. Many of our maps have been digitized.

Music Manuscript Collections: A collection of cello music previously held by Raya Garbousova, original manuscripts by Frank Skinner, and other sheet music. Materials in the Garbousova collection of music for cello performance along with some exercises for the cello. There is a particular emphasis on works for solo cello and cello with piano accompaniment. Many items have Ms. Garbousova's annotations and cello bowings. There are a small number of ephemeral materials related to the Cello Congress. The Frank Skinner Collection consists of musical scores from motion pictures. With one exception, they are all original pencil manuscripts in Skinner's hand. The exception is Magnificent Obsession, which is an ozalid copy of a studio copyist's manuscript. Excepting My Man Godfrey and Written on the Wind, which are fragments, the scores are believed to be complete representations of all the music Skinner wrote for the respective films.